Music and the overall music industry has come a long way since the 90s. Technology as well as social media and society has changed fundamentally and now music is more accessible than ever. However this has taken its toll on artists as well as record labels as with the growth of technology there has also been a growth in pirated music which had been downloaded for free illegally.
The Rise Of The Mobile Phone
Mobile phones were around in the early 90s. However they were large and cumbersome and did not have anywhere near the capabilities of the phones we now have in 2019. Mobile phones now are almost like mini computers they can access the internet , play music , take videos and photos. From the early 2000s onwards mobile phones grew in popularity as they became more and more widespread as well as more affordable for the general population. Whilst the mobile phone was growing in popularity tech company apple recognised this and created itunes. Itunes is a digital music platform where you can buy music and then own a song. previously this could only be done by purchasing a cd or tape recording. This fundamentally changed the way in which music is distributed and produced and we will take about this later in the article.
As well as adapting to the rise of the mobile phone music producers and record labels had another more pressing issue that they have to deal with- music piracy. Piracy of music is a contencious subject matter. One of the biggest sites to begin “pirating” music was site known as Napster. Through this website people could share and upload songs anonymously through files. Eventually napster was taken down after legal action and objections from many in the music industry arguing that it was setting a precedent for pirated music.
In the wake of napster there were several other sites that appeared despite high profile court cases and artists speaking out against them. One of the most infamous ones was Pirate Bay. Pirate bay was a site that hosted free music as well as movies and games. What was difficult about preventing sites such as pirate bay from doing this is that there wasn’t really legislation that covered what they were doing. This led to years of court cases before pirate bay was taken offline. However even then duplicate sites began appearing across the internet as soon as the original site had been shut down.
Streaming services are another part of the music industry that has seen an astronomical rise in demand as well as usage. One of the problems artists face as a result of this is they only receive a very small part of the royalties from streaming platforms. Sometimes as little as a penny a stream. However the catch is that if they do not use a large streaming platform such as spotify then they lose a large potential audience who may become a fan and buy their music or go to their gigs in future.